“This morning, I suddenly began to think about the primary reason why I am a community organizer. Why am I in Tatua Kenya doing what I do and not any other place? What draws me to Tatua? I began to think about the issue- what hurt me so much and made me so angry that I had to ACT. At the end of the day, when you ask people to do this or do that, it all boils down on the action. I came to a conclusion. It’s not just because I wanted to feel better about doing some good in society but because despite the existence of so many charities and philanthropists/ well wishers there is still so much that needs to be done by all of us to create real impact. I was curious about how to create real impact instead of short-term charity Continue reading “LETS DO OUR LITTLE BIT OF GOOD WHERE WE ARE: We owe it to humanity”

Harnessing Community Power

Yesterday I attended the first meeting with the Nkoroi leadership team called by the team coordinator, Beatrice Mwenda. It was exciting to see the team forming and taking responsibility and all I did was help with ideas as a member of the team and no longer the lead.

The team has already gotten 3 kids back to school in the previous week and has set precedence for work that will be happening in Nkoroi. The area ward representative came for the meeting from rumours he had heard about the team and was invited by the assistant chief. He assured us of his full support in our campaign to get 20 children back to school by November 2013.

This note keeps reminding me of the power I have seen in people coming together. It’s a culture I have seen of people getting together to fund raise for hospital bills, burials and even weddings. It has always worked for us. If only we can harness that spirit to finding solutions that hit communities as a whole, then we will have increased the confidence of communities to face challenges with the resources available.

-Ken Chomba, Co-Founder of Tatua Kenya and Lead Organizer in Nkoroi

Take Aways From the Training

We asked participants what they learned about community organizing and this is what people said…

“The essence of unveiling the power of the community in solving social issues. The power of public narrative as an effective tool of mobilization.” -James Kituzi

“The way to make things happen using the resources we have and achieve our goals.” -Jane Njeri

“Community organizing enables people to share ideas and come up with a concern that makes the community to identify its challenges and try to come up with solutions.” -Naomi K. Murigi

“Community organizing is a system of leadership where leaders working with people using available resources to expose power to bring desired change to the community.” -David Oyaga

“Coming together as a group will help our community understand the value of education and more children will be in school in our community.”

“Form of leadership that enables the community to turn its resources into power to make change.” -James Muoso

“There are resources available in the community which can be harnessed to affect change.” -Stephen Muturi

Those are just a few of the inspiring words from our participants. Each day we are encouraged by the work they are doing in their communities.

Reaching What We Hope For

One of the most terrifying things when it comes to community organizing is that you never really know how the community will react. We base it on assumptions and imagine the outcome and reaction prior. You do not know if they will be receptive or not, but always hope it is the case.

My first time working with the Ng’ando community was hard as most people did not understand what it meant to have ground up solutions applied to the  challenges affecting the child in the community. Top down solutions come with fast results, but often treat the wrong ailments and there we go again, back to step one trying to figure out why poverty is still chasing us.

Ground up solutions, on the other hand work towards the root cause and consider community involvement as fundamental. ”Do not sit down and wait for anybody to solve your problem”,were the words Clement spoke out as she looked at her baby seated on her lap. That was a breakthrough for me. At that point I knew the community was ready to begin initiatives towards eradication of child poverty by mobilizing local resources.

The Ng’ando community has set up a  leadership team, vetting/oversight committee and decided to increase the number of children going to school as their initiative.

In my case, what I hoped for  is what happened. What have you hoped for your community before?

-Liz Njeri, Community Organizer in Ng’ando